For all the unquestionable beauty of our ubiquitous natural surroundings, even the Front Range and Garden of the Gods can become hard to truly see. Like “THE MOST PHOTOGRAPHED BARN IN AMERICA” in Don Delillo’s novel White Noise, the local scenery can become little more than advertisements for long-held ideas about the local scenery:

“Once you’ve seen the signs about the barn, it becomes impossible to see the barn.”

He fell silent once more. People with cameras left the elevated site, replaced by others.

We’re not here to capture an image, we’re here to maintain one. Every photograph reinforces the aura. Can you feel it, Jack? An accumulation of nameless energies.”

There was an extended silence. The man in the booth sold postcards and slides.

“Being here is a kind of spiritual surrender. We see only what the others see. The thousands who were here in the past, those who will come in the future. We’ve agreed to be part of a collective perception. It literally colors our vision. A religious experience in a way, like all tourism.”

Another silence ensued.

“They are taking pictures of taking pictures,” he said.

He did not speak for a while. We listened to the incessant clicking of shutter release buttons, the rustling crank of levers that advanced the film.

“What was the barn like before it was photographed?” he said.

We found ourselves wondering the same thing about our landscape as we wandered through Garden of the Gods on a warm, late afternoon last week as the sun was just about to drop behind Pikes Peak and we caught some lens flare while trying not to focus. Perhaps the incredible bulk of America’s Mountain wants to be a telepathic cyclops for Halloween, or a light science fiction afternoon.

 

4 Responses to Return to Space Mountain

  1. sean says:

    no words.

  2. atomic elroy says:

    Excellent video.

  3. marc says:

    Gorgeous. Thank you for making and sharing this. Sweet n spooky sentimental simulacra!!

  4. chris fiedler says:

    gorgeous work noel! simply stunning.

News

April 21, 2015 | NPR · The Department of Labor has crafted a proposed rule to better protect Americans saving for retirement. But questions are already being raised about how effective the new rule will be.
 

NPR
April 21, 2015 | HPR · In Hawaii, a battle is going on over the future of a mountaintop. Native Hawaiians say it’s sacred ground, but astronomers say it’s the best place in the world to build an 18-story telescope.
 

NPR
April 21, 2015 | NPR · The panels, funded by government grants, are helping thousands of tribal residents take advantage of the everyday luxuries enjoyed by other Americans — like turning on lights or storing food.
 

Arts & Life

Courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers
April 21, 2015 | NPR · In her new novel, Pleasantville, and on TV’s Empire, Locke does her best to avoid simple stories. “You do some good stuff and you do some bad stuff,” she says. “… We exist in the middle.”
 

Laine Kaplan-Levenson for NPR
April 20, 2015 | NPR · Five years after the BP oil spill, the public has stopped asking whether seafood from the Gulf is safe to eat. But now there’s a supply issue, and fishermen worry about the future of their industry.
 

April 20, 2015 | NPR · “It’s not profound regret,” Morrison tells Fresh Air. “It’s just a wiping up of tiny little messes that you didn’t recognize as mess when they were going on.” Her latest book is God Help the Child.
 

Music

Peter Serling
April 20, 2015 | NPR · The composer is the second from the new-music collective Bang on a Can to win the award with a choral work. Her oratorio explores the lives of coal miners and their families a century ago.
 

Courtesy of the artist
April 20, 2015 | NPR · In a performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Carla Bley, George Coleman, Charles Lloyd and Joe Segal are recognized for their lifetimes of artistry and service to the music. Watch at 7:30 p.m. EDT.
 

April 20, 2015 | NPR · The winners of this year’s Pulitzer Prizes in journalism, fiction, poetry, drama, music, biography, history and nonfiction were announced Monday at Columbia University in New York.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab